I never wanted children. I wasn’t put off by the patter of tiny feet. (I love babies’ feet!) Just the process.

I blame it on Helga – a 1967 sex education film our class of 12-year-old giggling schoolgirls was taken to see. It showed the journey of a pregnancy from conception to birth: the facts of life at a stroke.

We were all really looking forward to the sex scene but what an anti-climax! I’ve since seen sexier programmes on bovine artificial insemination … although, as the film was directed by a German called Erich F. Bender, maybe there should have been no surprises there.

It was the gruesome and bloody birth that remains splattered all over my memory. Think Quentin Tarantino directing a remake of Alien. It was way too much information for a girl of my impressionable years – in a lasting-psychological-damage way.

That explains why I didn’t want babies. But can it be to blame for the angst I’ve been going through since giving birth to a website, exactly one year ago?

In medical terms I’d be called an ‘elderly primagravida’, the unflattering label they pin on first-time mothers over a certain age. In techie talk, I’m equally high-risk – one of the pre-digital generation dating back to BC (Before Computers). Too right! It takes the energy and computer-savvy of youth to handle all the back-linking, blogging, spam filtering and tweeting required in raising a fledgling website. So, for would-be cyber mothers of a certain age everywhere, this is my cautionary tale.

It was an immaculate conception – in that there was no male input (not even hosting by Go Daddy) but whoever planted the seed was no angel. What tortured days and sleepless nights! The gestation period was double the human term and I was heavily pregnant with half-formed ideas from day one of those long 18 months. And the morning sickness! Sometimes I couldn’t look at a computer for days.
There were even times, I confess, when I considered aborting.

I hired a designer, of course! (I don’t do DIY, even on WordPress) and it was fun choosing the name and the colour scheme. I even bought an outfit and accessories in matching tones to wear for my for my ‘avatar photo’ … the sad cyber-equivalent of knitting booties… And oh, how I studied! I was ‘blog’-eyed with all the ´How To´ sites I tried to read, absorb and inwardly digest on the planning and care of a website – but all they gave me was heartburn.

The labour was sweated, the delivery brutal and then I was terrified of touching anything in case I deleted it. For most of this year it’s kept me up at nights because the slider needed changing and the blog had to be fed with posts on a regular basis.

But, ‘Hello World’, it’s too late for regrets because here I am, one year on, still pushing the metaphorical pram because I haven’t got it to walk yet. (Do you think it takes after me?)
And ok, I know it’s not human. But sometimes I think I really have given birth to an alien being. Every time I turn on my computer it’s there, demanding more love and attention than I have hours in the day to give it.

Perhaps if I buy it a Google Panda or Penguin they’ll come and take it away!

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  1. Belinda,
    there were three of us who decided to start a new audio discussion site a couple of years ago.

    If it had’nt been for my mate Harry a Dutch IT teacher it would never have happened. Harry did everything and boy it was a lot of work and that did’nt include cyber bot attacks, outright liars who only joined to act as spoilers etc. etc.

    The good news that Belinda has’nt mentioned is that it is really cheap to set up your own site/forum – around €50-60 per year.

    For anyone thinking of setting up a site it is paramount that you have effective moderators who will act impartially even if it means banning friends who won’t play by the forum rules – sometimes you gotta be tough.

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